Dear John Krakaur,
Your book, Into The Wild, had a tremendous effect on my life, because it changed my entire perspective. Before reading this piece, I was swallowed in the consumer-driven lifestyle of the modem day American citizen. I was caught up by the constant cycle of technology continuously emphasizing and pushing consumerism in day-to-day society. I was also absorbed by the life of the typical teenager, which was primarily focused on boys, the newest popular gadget, and of course, today's ever-changing fads and must-have fashions.
Reading this book removed these selfishly placed blinders from my perspective on life and opened my eyes to the fact that it's not all about me. It overwhelmed me with a harsh realization that in being consumed by my lifestyle, I was shunning the only aspects in my life that are truly important. In doing this, the only aspects that were currently being recognized in my life were negative and I found myself wishing to have a different life. My parents are divorced and that seemed to be the focus of my negative attention at this time. I felt vulnerable and always pressured my being to prove myself in any way I could. This is especially where I felt a connection with the main character, Christopher McCandless.
Christopher felt that he had to prove himself, not to others, but just in an effort to feel accomplished. I felt this same blind ambition before I read Into the Wild. This and other factors of the main characters unique personality struck me as shockingly different and sparked my interest. Christopher McCandless' s determination to shut himself off from the cruel hand of the scathingly wealthy milieu of his upbringing and current lifestyle really interested me. This was because I had never observed a perspective such as this before.
At first, I thought of his acts of giving up all of his belongings and cutting off all of his funds to eliminate the disgusting element of greed from his life as noble, admirable, and selfless. Towards the end, I realized I was wrong. What had started out as a quest to find himself had really been a selfish, unthankful act of taking all he had been given in life for granted. He realized that he had been so consumed by his ambition to not only find, but also prove himself that he had narcissistically disregarded his own family. This aspect of the story is what truly impacted my life and changed my point of view. My favorite part of the book was at the time of his death when he finally accepted this harsh reality and yet through his agony had a moment of happiness as he recognized all that he had accomplished.
This literal work of art made me feel, which is a very uncommon reaction for me to have with books. I felt Christopher's anguish; I felt his pain, but I also felt his happiness. The feelings I endured while reading this piece were all so contradictory and conflicting that they swept me up in a torrent of emotions that would sometimes flow steady, but also at times they would tumble down a waterfall and leave me overwhelmed. I mentioned before how I felt his pain and saw from his cynical perspective, but many times along his journey to Alaska I felt his radiating happiness.
I remember reading about the great characters Christopher encountered along his journey and how he changed all of their lives forever. This made a huge impact on my life because it made me want to make a difference; to leave some sort of an impact on this world after my time runs out. His never tiring ambition and determination was also inspiring to me. He lived to follow his dream, no matter what obstacles he seemed to face. He leamed great lessons from all of his mistakes and experiences. It was very evident that these lessons helped shape Christopher as a person and it was a captivating experience to watch him blossom into a truly beautiful character. This book changed my life forever. I believe it helped me grow as a person and open up to the many opportunities life has to offer. Into the Wild is a must read for all adolescents. Thank you for writing this beautiful story and for inspiring me; helping me to become the strong person I am now.